Teen Challenge Hosts Banquet

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COLUMBIA - Worldwide drug and alcohol recovery program Teen Challenge held a banquet Thursday evening to kick start funding for a planned Columbia location.

First Assembly of God Church hosted the banquet for those interested in learning more about Teen Challenge. The faith-based program is looking to expand to Mid-Missouri by next year and hopes to raise $70,000 before finding a building and hiring a staff.

The Columbia location would cater to women with children and would house up to 15 mothers and their children. The program normally lasts 12 to 18 months and separates adolescents from adults, as it is open to all ages.

Banquet volunteer Vera Henson's son went through Teen Challenge and came out clean and sober. Ever since his recovery, she says she has done everything she can to support the program.

"He's an ordained minister in the Philippines now," she said. "It worked for him great, and its success rate is proven. I have to thank Teen Challenge, and I also thank God for his work through Teen Challenge."

Teen Challenge of the 4 States, a program based in Neosho in Southwest Missouri, will sponsor the new treatment center. Its executive director, James Lowans, spoke at the banquet and said he's looking forward to working with the new center once it is completed.

Another volunteer who helped take photographs at the banquet summed up the event's purpose: "We hope people enjoy this, and we hope they will then take out their pocket books and contribute."

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